Home Again, with Pisco

03 . 28 . 13

happyolks pisco sour

I have started one thousand sentences in my mind telling you what I have seen and felt and tasted in Patagonia. Nothing is working. The Andes whispered to me potent, precious secrets that helped me remember my human aliveness and mended my exasperated spirit. It occured to me just now that they are secrets that still need keeping. Secrets to hold fast in my belly and pray on, to take out and set on the counter to look at and ponder, to play with and practice and live in the best way I know how. In the 140k we hiked and climbed and cried upon I said thank-you a million times, prostrated on my knees to glaciers, rivers, forests, the sun, the moon, the stars and knew that those million thank-you’s would never be enough for what the place and time were giving.

Sitting at the kitchen table weeks later to write you, thousands of miles traveled to and from this spot in the interem, I sense that everything is the same and yet everything is different. My soul works from the same physical body, I drink my coffee from the same chipped cup. In between what I can see and what I can feel though, life is changing. Memories and mistakes sit together on the mantle now next to the old California license plates and the empty vase that I’d like to fill with daffodils this afternoon. They are invisible masterpieces cherished, forgiven, and understood only by we who know the brokenness and beauty it took to create them.

I urge you to go out, far from home, and find the secrets waiting for you too. They are, as Walt Whitman says, more divine and beautiful than words can tell.

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Pisco Sour, three ways

Pisco is a (typically) colorless grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru. It is the star of what both countries claim as their national cocktail, the Pisco Sour. In Puerto Natales, the closest township to Torres del Paine where we trekked, we met a young man who when asked about the Pisco Sour closed his eyes, touched his chest and said, “Ah, my Pisco, when you drink it you will feel a light your soul.” I happen to think he’s right, but the time and place seemed to have unusually persuasive powers. I have three takes on the Pisco Sour for you here today. The original, the de Campo with honey and ginger, and one to bookmark for summer with fresh mango and Seranno peppers. Each recipe serves one. Blend ingredients together until the ice is completely crushed and the mixture frothy. Serve in an old-fashioned glass with friends. Can be doubled, tripled, etc. and served family style. 

Pisco Sour

  • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
  • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
  • 3/4 fl oz (3 part) Simple syrup (sugar and water)
  • 1 Egg white
  • 4 large ice cubes

 

Sour de Campo

  • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
  • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
  • 1 fl oz (4 parts) honey
  • 1/2 flz oz (2 parts) grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Egg white
  • 4 large ice cubes

 

Mango-Chili Sour

  • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
  • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
  • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Simple syrup (sugar and water)
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mango
  • 1 tsp (small sliver) seranno pepper
  • 1 Egg white
  • 4 large ice cubes

 

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Extra credit: Shaun’s got a few photos of Torres del Paine up on the Boyte Creative journal today.

  • I’m not sure I’d be able to find the words to express that kind of journey either. I have always loved traveling and, yet, it has been so long since I’ve been on a trip like the one you’ve described. The kind that changes your perspective on the world, even though things are just as they were when they left. That rejuvenation is something we need from time to time.

    I’m a long time lover of pisco sours. And now I have three delightful recipes to work with. Thank you.

  • This makes me feel like I’ve become so lazy with travelling – taking the easy and familiar option instead of opening my mind up to adventure. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Absolutely loved this post, and the gorgeous photos made me want to make a Pisco cocktail right away. Further proof that traveling is the key to discovering the meaning of true life! Thanks for sharing.

  • There is nothing so humbling or centering than traveling and realizing you are but one speck in the greater world. Lovely, lovely post + lovely, lovely recipe. Pisco Sours are a FAVE of mine.

    Hugshugs.

    P.S. Shaun’s pictures are amazing! I cannot stop looking at them.

  • I love your voice.

  • To me, pisco sours mean Chile, particularly the very northern parts. But it’s still a magical memory. I’d like a pisco sour very, very soon. They represent such a pivotal time in my life. Thanks for sharing these fantastic twists, too.

  • So pretty. Welcome home, friend. I imagine you’ll be digesting this trip for years to come.

  • Speaking of “holy smokes”… these photos! Your photos are always among those that motivate me to get better & inspire me, but these are some of my favorites I’ve seen from you. They’re so subtle and soft and bright. I love love them. I get this weird “giddy like oh my god” feeling inside when I see work that I just *love*. This is that.

  • Lovely, so lovely, as always.
    And yes, hold those secrets. xo

  • Welcome home. I can imagine Patagonia would have the same effect as the Southern Alps in NZ where I have experienced that feeling of total stillness and presence. Magic.

  • this was gorgeous. i love your words! there’s always that melancholy (that it’s over) yet vibratory feeling you get after a journey like that. welcome back, and thanks for this.

  • I have been following your pictures of Patagonia on instagram, remembering when I was standing in the exact same spots about 5 years ago and, like you, words cannot really describe what you feel hiking around Torres del Paine. We were camping in the park, without mobile phone reception for several days and, as hiking season had just started a week or so before we got there, other than our small group we did not bump into a single soul. It was mesmerizing. And once you get close to the actual Towers of Paine it is so humbling how small you are compared to those big mountains. That trip forms part of the best days of my life so far, no doubt.

    I still remember having my first Pisco Sour in some shady bar in Buenoes Aires shortly after I arrived there, not speaking a single word of Spanish but ready to absorb everything Argentina (and after that Chile) had to offer. I still get nostalgic every time I see Pisco Sour on a bar menu.

  • Those photos take my breath away. Especially the last two. Love.

  • Beautiful story, beautiful photos and beautiful cocktails! I remember having moments like this during my travels in Europe 10 years ago. My god… 10 years ago? I need to start traveling again.

  • Your photos are beautiful, but your words are far more so. I travel to beautiful cities all the time but am hoping to soon go on a real getaway, preferably the Himalayas, where nature is at its best and you just have time to walk and think about everything and nothing.

  • Sounds like you had a restorative trip! I look forward to hearing more about it. And the drink looks fantastic. Only a few more weeks and I’ll be pouring myself one of these ;) Take care friend!

  • Yes! I read this and just thought yes! While I haven’t been to Patagonia (thought I so want to), I spent a year traveling around the world with my family. Not only did I put years back onto my life, but I saw, breathed, felt, tasted so much more than my little overcrowded American life offers. I let go of all the little stresses and worries and was simply in the world. Reading your post took me back to that feeling. It’s so hard not to loose that sense of expansiveness and peace when you get back home. It’s still in me, but I forget it sometimes.
    E

  • a very thoughtful post and a delicious looking drink. thanks for sharing!

  • So glad to see pisco sours! I did my archaeology field school on Easter Island and enjoyed many while there. Each bar (well, all 3 of them!), claimed to have secret family recipes for theirs. This post has brought back so many wonderful memories and has given me the travel bug! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • “I urge you to go out, far from home, and find the secrets waiting for you too.” I love this SO much! Thank you Kelsey! -Kara (from Sut Nam Bonsai)

  • What an inspiration of travelling, learning and feeding the soul. Thank you for such a lovely experience. Oh and the Mango-Chilli Sour…yummmy :)

  • Jaime

    My friends, lovely post. Just some additional information: Pisco (the spirit) is from the city of Pisco in Peru destilled by spanish monks during colonial times (1600s). Pisco Sour (the cocktail) was invented in the Bar of Hotel Maury in downtown Lima circa 1950.

    By the way Pisco was exported to California in the 1800s by boat. It was popular in San Francisco bars specially a drink call “Pisco Punch”. Chile began producing Pisco much later, of which quality and price differ from the original Peruvian Pisco.

    Cheers!

  • Romina

    Hi, my name is Romina and I’m from Peru. I’m glad that you posted the recipes of how to make Pisco Sour but I think you should’ve said a little bit more about the differences between Pisco Sour with Chilean Pisco and Pisco Sour with Peruvian Pisco, because if you’ve tried them both you’ll know that they have very different flavours and that’s because they are made with different grapes and with different process. Peruvian Pisco is handcraft, doesn’t use sugar (because our grapes are sweeter) takes longer to make and is crystal clear, while Chilean Pisco is made industrially, needs sugar and water and is brownish. Although I’ve tried both Pisco Sours, I must recommend you to do it with Peruvian Pisco you’ll see it tastes better, because is a more refined liquor, but if you want to drink something less elaborated I will recommend you drinking “Piscola” that is Coke with Chilean Pisco, Peruvian Pisco doesn’t taste good with coke, but you can make a “Chilcano” by mixing it with ginger ale, a little bit of gum syrup and a little bit of lime juice. Hope you try it!

  • Romina

    Hi, my name is Romina and I’m from Peru. I’m glad that you posted the recipes of how to make Pisco Sour but I think you should’ve said a little bit more about the differences between Pisco Sour with Chilean Pisco and Pisco Sour with Peruvian Pisco, because if you’ve tried them both you’ll know that they  have very different flavours and that’s because they are made with different grapes and with different process. Peruvian Pisco is handcraft, doesn’t use sugar (because our grapes are sweeter) takes longer to make and is crystal clear, while Chilean Pisco is made industrially, needs sugar and water and is brownish. Although I’ve tried both Pisco Sours, I must recommend you to do it with Peruvian Pisco you’ll see it tastes better, because is a more refined liquor, but if you want to drink something less elaborated I will recommend you drinking “Piscola” that is Coke with Chilean Pisco, Peruvian Pisco doesn’t taste good with coke, but you can make a  “Chilcano” by mixing it with ginger ale, a little bit of gum syrup and a little bit of lime. Hope you try it!

  • Your pictures are BEAUTIFUL! You really show the beauty in crafting a cocktail. And it really is such an art, after all :)

    One question, you said “blend” the ingredients. Did you actually mean in a blender? Or did you mean by hand / in a shaker w/ crushed ice?

    Looking forward to making these on the dock with my family over the next holiday.

  • Carolyn

    No website has ever made me as hungry or thirsty as this one! BEAUTIFULLY illustrated!

  • Hi, i just discovered this blog and am very happy of find this post. This make me so proud not for the pisco only. The patagonia and specifically the Torres del Paine its an incredible and magical place and am always happy to find people from every places of the world who came to find this magic and can take it with them to their homes.
    Hugs.
    panBatido.

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I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

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